Technology tidbit

Dear Customer and fellow agent,

have you noticed how quickly your online conversations go into the ether once they’re finished? You might remember that one of your friends had a brilliant idea about how to convert first-time buyers or a witty comment on the latest Fed pronouncement, but retracing that message involves scrolling through old posts—a tedious, time-sucking pursuit.

On Thursday, at Real Estate Connect in New York, real estate tech bloggers Chris Smith and Jimmy Mackin will announce a solution—a way to tag, track, and search Facebook conversations. The new tool, Curaytor, plugs Facebook’s Group API into a WordPress backend, making conversations in groups searchable. Setting aside my personal bias against creative spellings, Curaytor looks to be a neat tool for getting at the best content in Facebook groups you’re following.

As proof of concept, Smith and Mackin have started with content from open real estate groups like Michael McClure’s Raise the Bar in Real Estate discussion. With Facebook groups that are tracked in Curaytor, anyone can quickly see what others are saying or view content from the discussion by topic. Smith says open Facebook groups were the ideal place to start with curating online discussions because Facebook has become the online water cooler with 1 million new status updates posted every minute. Eventually, he says, Curaytor could include conversations form other forums, such as Twitter and Google+. Unlike Google search, for example, Curaytor searches what your friends and colleagues are saying about the latest gadgets, business strategies, and news.

Currently, the site doesn’t pull in an individual’s groups, only the open groups that Curaytor has added, so for now at least, everyone who goes to the site sees the same information.

The launch of Curaytor was in some ways tempered by Facebook’s own announcement yesterday of Graph Search, a technology that lets you search friends’ activities on Facebook. (Here’s a CNNMoney article on Graph Search). What the Facebook tool seems to lack, however, is the curation part. Curaytor promises to organize social conversations in real time so that you can view them in categories like trending, popular, and recent. Using WordPress enables Curaytor to tag posts and populate a “Staff Picks” feature. You can search Curaytor by keyword, user profile picture, company name, or news source.

And while Smith and Mackin are focused on the real estate market today, there’s no reason Curaytor couldn’t be used to track and search conversations on any topic that’s actively discussed on Facebook, Smith says.

Sincerely,

Your Global LifeStyle Team

 

 

P.S. Article written by Stacey Moncrieff

8 Tips to make your remodel more energy efficient and your home healthier

Dear Home owner,

as long as you’re remodeling, why not cut your utility bill and make your home a bit healthier?

Saving energy wasn’t on the list of reasons we’re finally ripping out the kitchen in our mid-century home (green-veined, imitation marble laminate countertops figured much more prominently). But, a session at the recent 2012 Remodeling Show in Baltimore clued me in as to why adding a few simple tasks to our remodeling plan could lower our home’s energy bill, get rid of some of the annoying hot and cold spots in our house, and make our home less hospitable to mold and other allergens.

Carl Seville, author of Green Building: Principles and Practices in Residential Construction, shared some simple, inexpensive ways to make remodels and additions more energy efficient from the standpoint of energy usage and conservation of resources.

Try these eight tips from Seville:

1. Check for water intrusion, condensation, and excess moisture before you begin the project. Fixing those issues during remodeling can improve your home’s indoor air quality (excess moisture encourages mold).

2. Use the least amount of framing allowed by your building code when adding walls. Not only will you have to pay for less lumber and fewer nails, the contractor will have more room to put insulation in your walls, making your home more energy efficient.

3. Resist the urge to splurge on multiple shower heads. Opt for a single low-flow shower head rather than installing a car wash-style plethora of shower heads.

4. If possible, add new HVAC ducts to parts of your home that are heated and cooled, rather than placing them in a space with unconditioned air (like the attic). If that’s not possible, insulate the ducts. Have an HVAC diagnostician analyze your system to make sure it’s sized correctly and balanced to properly exchange old and new air.

5. Be sure to insulate around recessed lights that protrude into un-insulated attic spaces — these are major sources of air leaks.

6. If you’re wasting water, you’re wasting energy. Look at high-efficiency or solar water heaters, and insulate your water pipes. If you want hot water faster, move the water heater closer to the faucet or install demand pumps to drive hot water to the fixture.

7. Install wall-mounted efficiency toggle switch plates for the outlets where you plug in your televisions and computers to make it easy to cut off the power to electronics you’re not using.

8. A humidistat that automatically turns on the bathroom fan when moisture rises beats depending on teenagers or tenants remembering to use the fan. Reducing bathroom moisture reduces the chances you’ll have mold.

When I pull the kitchen cabinets off the wall, I’m going to use caulk to seal between the wallboards and the floorboards before I put down new flooring and install the new cabinets. And since I’ll have the caulk out, I’m going to seal the top of window trim, something my home’s builder didn’t do.

What are your tips for smart energy savings during a remodel?

By: Dona DeZube

Most sincerely,

 

Your Global Lifestyle team.